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A’Court Tells Metuh Trial Must Continue, Another Dismisses Request For Medical Trip To UK

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The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 dismissed the appeal brought before it by the embattled National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Olisa Metuh, ruling that the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court Abuja was right when he dismissed Metuh’s no-case-submission.

In a unanimous judgment deliveredtoday by a three-man panel of Justices led by Justice Abdul Aboki, the appellate court held that, Metuh had a case to answer regarding the N400million allegedly transferred from the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, into his company account.

Justice Aboki noted that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had established a prima-facie case to warrant explanations from the defendant, adding that, “from the evidence adduced before the trial court, can it be said that the 1st defendant has no case to answer?

“The case of the prosecution has raised several questions that only the defendant can answer. It is evident that from testimonies of the eight witnesses called by the prosecution that issues of fact were raised to warrant explanations from the appellant.

“There is need for the defendant to either accept or deny the allegations against him,” Justice Aboki held.

According to him, the prosecution having closed its case, the burden of defence shifted to the appellant who he said was “entitled to give explanations as to what actually transpired”.

“There is no merit in this appeal and it is accordingly dismissed,” Justice Aboki ruled.

Meanwhile, Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, onWednesday, May 25, 2016dismissed the application by the embattled spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, seeking the release of his international passport to enable him travel abroad for medical treatment.

Counsel to Metuh, Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, had on Monday, May 23, 2016 through an application dated May 16, 2016 sought the permission of the court to allow his client travel to the United Kingdom for five weeks to attend to his failing health.

He said that, the court could order the defendant to deposit his international passport with the Nigerian Embassy in UK in order to ensure that he does not abscond.

However, counsel to EFCC, Sylvanus Tahir, countered his application saying, “there are hospitals in Nigeria which can handle the defendant’s medical case.”

Tahir also argued that, the court does not have jurisdiction over the defendant in UK as to order him deposit his passport to the Nigerian Embassy.

He urged the court to refuse his application.

After listening to the arguments on both sides, Justice Abang adjourned to today for ruling on the application.

In his ruling, Justice Abang held that, the application seeking the release of Metuh’s international passport should not have come to his court in the first place.

The judge posited that, the present condition of the defendant should not be a reason for the law to be compromised.

“Proceedings in a court of law are not based on sentiments. The court cannot set aside its decision. I have no jurisdiction to do so”, Justice Abang  said.

He further stated that, “the prosecution has expressed fear that he (Metuh) will disappear. In a case like this, the court must be extremely careful. It must balance the competing rights of the defence, and that of the prosecution, before making its decision.”

The judge added that since the court cannot grant Metuh his second prayer, there would be no need to consider the application for his trip abroad.

“It is accordingly dismissed”, Justice Abang ruled.

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